The Ontario Provincial Police are warning the public about a “potentially lethal substance” being mailed across the province in packages.
Investigators said the packages “may have been sent to individuals at risk of self-harm in communities across Ontario.”
The packages contain sodium nitrite.
Sodium nitrite is a white, crystalline substance used as a food additive and typically found in processed meats. Police said intentional consumption of excessive amounts of this substance can reduce oxygen levels, impair breathing and result in death.
The substance was being sold online and distributed by mail, police said.
In their investigation, police said they found the packages may have been sent to more than a dozen communities in Ontario, in addition to other parts of the world.
OPP released names of businesses listed on the packages: Imtime Cuisine, AmbuCA, Academic / ACademic, Escape Mode / escMode and ICemac.
“The OPP is calling on everyone to be vigilant of the online transactions and activity of family members and the arrival of any unexpected packages in the mail,” police said.
Meanwhile, Peel Regional Police charged a man from Mississauga, Ont., they believe to be responsible for providing the substance to Ontarians. The man was charged with counselling or aiding suicide.
The suspect was named as 57-year-old Kenneth Law.
The arrest comes after an exclusive April 25 report by the Times of London that alleged the chemicals used in the death of a young U.K. man were purchased from a Greater Toronto Area man named Kenneth Law.
“It is believed that the suspect distributed and marketed the substance online to target individuals at risk of self-harm,” Peel Regional Police said in announcing the arrest on Tuesday.
Anyone who receives a package containing sodium nitrite or suspects it may contain the substance is asked to contact police.